Appreciating all that makes America special

Flatiron Building, New York City

The unique skyscraper architecture of the Flatiron Building, New York City.

The unique architecture of New York's Flatiron Building, one of its first steel-frame skyscrapers. Uploaded by

Not as tall as the Empire State Building or as graceful as the Chrysler Building, the Flatiron nevertheless stands as one of America’s most unusual – and revered – skyscrapers.

The Flatiron Building, a New York City architectural gem.

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It’s only six feet wide at its apex, and rises only 21 stories above ground. Hardly a competitor in the skyscraper derby, even upon its completion in 1902. But it has a grace, a flair, and a power that somehow embodies the New York spirit. Designed by Daniel Burnham, who also designed the Marshall Fields store in Chicago and Union Station in Washington, DC, the Flatiron has lent its name to its Manhattan neighborhood.

Legend has it that the shape of the building caused unusual wind gusts, often lifting ladies’ skirts in the wake. Men sometimes gathered to watch this phenomenon, and policemen would make them leave by using the building’s address – 23rd Street. “23 skidoo,” they said. Well, it makes a nice story.

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